Some like it hot. Others do not. How much heat will you dare to heap into the pot? Wherever your preference lies on the spicy scale, savor the flavor of the Bayou this October 12 and raise your spoon in a toast to Gumbo Day.
Gumbo, the specialty stew of New Orleans, results from as many recipes as there are Creole grandmothers. It’s an ‘anything goes’ kind of dish, and that is very fortunate for fussy diners. This hearty entrée can be made with a varied host of ingredients.
Seafood varieties invite shrimp, crab, crawfish or oysters to the simmering pot. Other recipes call for chicken, duck, ham or Andouille sausage. The best gumbo offers the best of both worlds when prepared with chicken, sausage and shrimp.
All gumbos start with a dark roux base that imparts the distinct flavor, along with tomatoes, onions and cayenne pepper. Add some sliced okra to thicken the dish and a bit of filé powder just before serving.
According to Creole custom, a gumbo z’Herbes is typically served on Good Friday. This variation contains seven herbs along with spinach, mustard or collard greens. The greens are added as good luck charms, they make this celebratory gumbo magically delicious.
Before all you dieters rejoice, there’s one final component to the presentation of this culinary gem. Gumbo is typically ladled over rice, making this stew a very satisfying, stick-to-your-ribs dining experience.
How much spice should you toss in the pot? That depends on who’s being served. Do you relish in palate-scorching conquests? Then heap in the spices with reckless abandon. Otherwise, spice it up gently and place a bottle of hot sauce on the table to satisfy individual preferences.
Don’t have a Creole grandmother? Don’t despair. Celebrate Gumbo Day by hopping a flight to the Big Easy for a winning bowl. Otherwise, browse the Internet to find some of the best recipes you’ve ever tasted. Now, pass the hot sauce, please.